Lay's or Laysa? The mess between two brands of potato chips in the Council of State

In 2008 a Pereira company registered the brand "Laysa", but the multinational Pepsico did not like it and sued the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce for accepting the registration. The high court will have the last word.

Pepsico, the global giant of processed foods, sued the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) because a trademark registration granted by this entity. It all started because Germán Gaviria Santacoloma, a businessman from Pereira, decided to register the fries Laysa and the SIC gave him the green light. The multinational plaintiff considers that the Colombian name is confused with that of the brand Lay'sregistered around the world in his name.

By means of a nullity action Pepsico intends, then, to overthrow the resolution that allowed the operation to the Pereira brand. The case is in the office of Judge Oswaldo Giraldo Pérez, of the First Section of the State Council, but in matters of consumer rights, it is necessary to spin so fine that Giraldo asked the Court of Justice of the Andean Community for a concept, which was recently known.

The interpretation of the international corporation must be integrated into the decision of the Council of State, but it is not entirely conclusive. The Colombian magistrates will have to analyze three key points, according to the Court's advice: the non-registrability of signs by identity or similarity, since there may be a risk of confusion or association of the consumer, who, for example, believes that he is buying a product, when reality is buying another; the comparison between word signs, that is, their phonetic similarity; and the comparison between mixed and word signs, that is, the image to which the consumer associates the brand.

In Colombia, the potato chips of Pepsico are called "Margarita", but since 1965 the North American company has the record of that name. Lay's products, however, are present around the world - with some changes in names in other countries such as the United Kingdom, where they are called "Walkers" - and only in the United States they have 59% of the snack market, according to figures from the company.

The other part of the controversy, Laysa, is produced by the company German Gaviria S. and Cia Ltda Distrimotos, headquartered in the capital of Laredo. Although initially it was a motorcycle pinion factory, since 2008 they registered this line of business in the processed food market. In fact, this promotional video of the potatoes was uploaded in 2012 from the Distrimotos account.

Germán Gaviria Santacoloma, on the other hand, was integrated into the process as an interested third party, but the lawsuit does not fall on him. However, the State Council summoned him to give his testimony as legal representative of the company German Gaviria S. and Cia Ltda Distrimotos, to whom the Laysa brand belongs. The businessman failed to comply with the citation of the high court last year and imposed a fine of two minimum wages.

Taken from: -853903